Telegraph | From next month seriously overweight flyers will be asked to pay for two seats, or not be allowed on board for “safety reasons”, the airline announced yesterday.
“People who arrive at the check-in desk and are deemed too large to fit into a single seat will be asked to pay for and use a second seat,” said Monique Matze, an Air France spokesman.
“They will be charged 75 per cent of the cost of the second seat, which is the full price excluding tax and surcharges, on top of the full price for the first.
I’ve just returned from a blissfully relaxing trip to the deep Caribbean. After the Christmas rush, my family annually escapes to the West Indies for a week of sailing, diving, and, with months-in-advance reservations in place, great food! As French and posh as ever, St. Bart’s seemed virtually unaffected by the unfavorable economic climate—with Microsoft magnate Paul Allen’s 416 foot mega-yacht Octopus in the lead, an unparalleled collection of pristine 150+ footers took up their usual spots on Gustavia’s glitzy dock.
That is, until a powerful tide and unforeseen surge forced the multimillion dollar vessels to leave their front-row seats on the flashy dock and retreat to the outer harbor (where our relatively diminutive sailboat lay), leaving the high-profile passengers to be shuttled in their heels and tuxes to the mainland in lieu of stepping right off their boat onto dry ground. A nice reminder that being on a boat does, in fact, involve being in contact with water!
On a recent journey to Iceland, I discovered 66° North. Named for the island’s Arctic latitude, this rugged outdoor clothing line is a favorite of Icelandic explorers, mountain guides and the Olympic ski team, competing in the 2010 Winter Games at Vancouver next month. While climbing around glaciers, riding horses in the highlands, and fishing on a long-line day boat off the Westfjords, I wore a black weatherproof Esja parka ($456). My first hoodie! So what if I looked like Kenny from "South Park"?
The cruise industry’s largest trade organization let loose on critics of Royal Caribbean International today, saying that the cruise line is bringing relief aid to Haiti despite the ridicule and disdain that has been heaped on the company in the press and online message boards. Richard Sasso, chairman of the marketing committee of Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), told a press conference this morning that RCI should be praised for its efforts, not criticized.
The controversy began soon after last week’s earthquake in Haiti, when the cruise line announced that it would continue visits to the undamaged port of Labadee and its private resort on the north side of Haiti, about 60 miles from the ruins of the nation’s capital, Port-au-Prince. The port calls have been characterized by some in the press and in the blogosphere as an out-of-touch decision to allow sunbathers and umbrella-drink aficionados to lollygag in the tropical sun while the number of dead and dying increased daily on the other side of the country. In fact, according to Sasso, the decision was driven by the need to deliver food, water, and other supplies at a time when the country’s main port has been nearly destroyed and its airport hampered by having only one working runway.
“They didn’t have to go back to Labadee,” said Sasso, his voice rising in outrage as he addressed a crowd of reporters at the annual CLIA media update in New York City. “Not now, not next year, or in three years. They put themselves out there despite all the criticism.”
With last week's devastating earthquake in Haiti, we're reminded of the value of life's most basic necessity—water. So, efforts to raise awareness about this precious resource couldn't have come at a better time.
A group of celebrities, activists, and philanthropists—actress Jessica Biel, actor Emile Hirsch, musician Santigold, and activist Alexandra Cousteau (of Jacques Cousteau lineage), to name just a few—recently banded together to climb Mount Kilimanjaro as a part of Summit on the Summit (SOTS), and shine a spotlight on the importance of clean drinking water.
The crew reached the top of Kilimanjaro—which, at 19,340 feet, is Africa's tallest peak—last Tuesday, where they stopped briefly to take a photograph (below) before beginning the (much less arduous) trek back down to the bottom. (The ascent took a grueling 6 days, while the descent took just 2.)
Back in mid-December, Tyler Thompson, creative director at New York web-hosting site, SquareSpace, took a Delta flight from New York’s JFK airport to Seattle, on which he apparently didn’t have adequate reading material. Thompson cast a professional eye at his boarding pass and found it lacking not only visual punch, but also clarity of information.
In-flight, Thompson sketched out a few different ways to better communicate the pertinent information, and then back at his computer he created some mock-ups. Next, he opened up the redesign project to the design community through a web site: Boarding Pass/Fail. What has transpired since the site went live in early January is an entertaining public conversation about everything wrong with this small, disposable necessity of air travel. Here’s hoping the airline industry takes notice.
On my wish list for Thompson and his fellow designers to tackle next? The ground transportation signage at JFK airport, please. Any travel-related designs you love to hate?
Ann Shields is an online senior editor at Travel + Leisure.
Photo Credit: Tyler Thompson
Let’s face it, the cruise industry has not been all that kind to solo travelers, with most ships charging as much as double to those who want to have a cabin to themselves. But, it's not all bad news for singles: Norwegian Cruise Line announced last week it would change the game when it launches its newest and largest ship, the 4,200-passenger Norwegian Epic, in July. Epic is paying attention to solo travelers with a new category of very hip cabins (above) affordably priced for one. Known as "The Studios," the 128 identical cabins are small (100 square feet), have double beds, and do not offer views (they are all inside).
I hear a plane overhead just now. We have heard that they cleared the airstrip and moved the people to a nearby park. Gerard was out until after midnight digging a latrine at the new site, to try to keep the health risks down. He is one of the many international aide workers who has been part of our lives these last few days. Part of the core crew, and now when he is not here, we wait for his return. We have our regulars who come and go. Last night, a group from UNICEF came and ate with us and stayed the night. We were treated to fresh salad and Camembert by a French woman who lives here and runs the Aliance Francaise. I'm not sure a cucumber has ever tasted so good. The building of the AF is still standing but is not inhabitable. It will need to be razed and rebuilt. I have spent the morning speaking with Danielle, discussing her organization Femmes en Democratie and their work here, empowering women, working with them to run their own businesses, be self sufficient and to be a part of the political process. Their work will continue. As well as the work of Kompay, which does sustainable agricultural programs.
Rumors of who is coming in and who is going out abound. My family thinks that they have found a plane or a helicopter to come in to get me. But then we learn that the airspace is closed to private transportation. They are working on a boat. They are pulling out every contact they can find. I have never felt so loved in my life. The tireless work of my sister and so many friends is incredible to follow on FaceBook. And thank goodness for FaceBook! It is amazing that I am still in touch with people. Just watching the ideas and connections flying is unbelievable! The people who don't even know me—friends of friends of friends—who are giving their all, making phone calls, sending emails, making introductions. I don't know how I will ever thank them all for their efforts.
I awake to another blue sky, and two UN vehicles in our drive. Is there news? No, nothing. No updates on aid coming in, or anyone going out.
Pistare, Pistare is a phrase that keeps going through my mind. If you have trekked in Nepal, you will know what I am talking about. Slowly, Slowly. Everything happens slowly here, and it will continue to move that way. It is both a cultural norm and the current physical reality. Life works differently here. And infrastructure, or lack thereof, predicates the slow pace of building, rebuilding, responding.
I have taken to keeping a bottle of water nearby. But not for drinking. Every time I think the ground is shaking, my eyes jump to the bottle to see if the water is sloshing. Each time, it seems, it is in my imagination. There have been some ongoing aftershocks. A few big ones during the night, but I slept through them. A couple during the day as well, but not nearly as many as there are in my imagination.
We get more and more news. None of it good. An American who got safely out of their hotel, only to run back in after a computer, and not return. A family member of one of our crew, buried in rubble in PaP. They are trying to dig her out, using cars and ropes to pull the concrete blocks off of her. Without the proper rescue equipment they are now risking their own lives.
We recently learned—via Facebook—that an intrepid friend of Travel + Leisure’s is trapped in Haiti. Never having been, Ruth Bender, who works for the Tides Foundation in San Francisco, decided to stop in Haiti en route to a wedding at the Bitter End Yacht Club on Virgin Gorda. She, nor anyone else, could have imagined what disaster awaited. Below is Ruth’s first-person, on-the-ground report from 40 miles outside the capital city. She tells a different, slightly more hopeful story than those coming out of earthquake-ravaged Port-au-Prince. Read on. And watch Ruth on CNN here.
JACMEL, HAITI—Mid-way through our third bottle of wine, I pull out my camera and we look through the photos I took of downtown Jacmel. I have an obsession with photographing architecture; doors in particular. My friends know about this, and often skim my photos when I post them. This time, they may take note.
These may be the last photos taken of many of these buildings. Between early yesterday when I took those photos, and today as I write this, Haiti experienced the largest earthquake they have recorded here in 200 years. The town of Jacmel has been decimated. Lovely, historic structures are piles of rubble. The paper-mache creatures the men had spent days and weeks carefully building and painting for the upcoming Carnevale are crushed. But more devastating is the loss of life, and livelihood, and the lack of emergency services available to the region. While Port au Prince has been decimated, they are also receiving all of the news coverage and are able to receive international aid.
Jacmel has up to 10,000 people without homes. Telephones are not working and there is no electricity. The road from Port au Prince to Jacmel is not passable. The airport in Jacmel is being used as a refugee camp for the townspeople, rendering the landing strip useless. No supplies, no aid has come to Jacmel. The townspeople are dependent on the limited supplies at the UN station here. Schools have fallen. The hospital is badly damaged and of limited use.